Barry Windsor-Smith · Connections · Illustration Art · Look Here

Connections: Gustave Doré and Barry Windsor-Smith



In The Studio (Dragon’s Dream, 1979), on pages 103 and 104, Barry Windsor-Smith provides a brief account of the genesis of Whithering:

“In the spring of 1975 I was working on a pen and ink drawing of trees, just trees. It was inspired, in part, by a wonderful painting of old Hampstead Heath by John Constable. At that time I didn’t think my audience was ready for — or let’s say interested in — a new work by me that was ‘just trees.’ Constable himself had a witticism about painting some of his pictures with ‘eye salve.’ What he meant was that he would make a picture as commercial as possible if he needed to sell it. As I wanted the fantasy market to see my tree drawing, I took a tip from Constable and applied a little ‘fantastic eye balm’: right in the middle of the picture I drew a shrouded figure of Death — a skull-headed man — and off in the distance a dark, foreboding mansion. This made the trees seemingly incidental. I called it Whithering (p. 110)… a deliberate non sequitur.” […]

“One night I got a frenzied call from an associate in London. He’d just shown a reproduction of the picture to a much respected fellow artist whom I’d never met, and whom my associate had only just met. Over the crackling transatlantic line I heard him say, ‘Hey! Guess what!… I just showed Whithering to so-and-so and guess what he said, — ‘Ahh, Constable; those trees. Barry just stuck that dead bloke in there so he could get away with drawing trees, didn’t he’?… He knew! There were a few cackles of laughter and then he hung up; that was the end of the call. I was suffering from insomnia at the time, I recall I slept that night and glowed the next day.”

Does Windsor-Smith’s reminiscence rule out the influence of Doré’s composition on Whithering? I don’t think so, but if you check out the comments section of this post, you’ll find a reader who disagrees with me.


Three paintings of “Hampstead Heath” by John Constable:

Barry Windsor-Smith · Comics · Look There

Look There: Barry Windsor-Smith’s “Cimmeria” (1973 – 2010)



The Bronze Age of Blogs: “Cimmeria,” poem by Robert E. Howard, art by Barry [Windsor-]Smith and Tim Conrad, Savage Sword of Conan #24 (November 1977).

Barry Windsor-Smith Unofficial Blog: “Cimmeria,” poem by Robert E. Howard, art (in pencil) by Barry [Windsor-]Smith, Savage Tales #2 (October 1973).

Barry Windsor-Smith · Frank Bellamy · Heads Up!

Heads Up: Tully and Bellamy’s “Heros the Spartan” in 2011?

Here are two sample pages from Heros the Spartan, written by Tom Tully and drawn by Frank Bellamy:

And here are the details of the forthcoming collection from Titan Books; my source is the online catalogue:

Heros the Spartan [Hardcover]
Tom Tully (Author)

RRP: £12.57
Price: £9.59 & this item Delivered FREE in the UK with Super Saver Delivery. See details and conditions
You Save: £2.98

# Hardcover: 128 pages
# Publisher: Titan Books (UK) (3 May 2011)
# Language English
# ISBN-10: 1848568932
# ISBN-13: 978-1848568938

There’s also a listing for Heros the Spartan at with a ridiculous publication date of “Dec 31 2035,” but the ISBN-10 and ISBN-13 numbers are the same as in the listing at, so I think Bellamy fans have reason to believe that a collection really is in the works.

BTW, if you’re looking for a heavy-weight endorsement of Frank Bellamy’s work on Heros the Spartan, you need look no further than RCN favourite, Barry Windsor-Smith, who said in an interview with Comic Book Artist magazine in 1998, “I was quite awestruck by Bellamy, his Heros the Spartan was simply magnificent.[…] Britain had a clutch of exceptionally gifted comics artists during the ’50s and ’60s but the subject matter of the strips often disinterested me. I liked Dan Dare and Heros, I think that’s all. I named the lead male character in my ‘Young Gods’ series Heros in homage to Bellamy.”

Given his fond memories and admiring assessment of Heros the Spartan, I would imagine that BWS was pleased to be profiled, along with Frank Bellamy (and eight other comics luminaries), by P. R. Garriock in his 1978 book, Masters of Comic Book Art. As I recall, one of the highlights of Garriock’s book was the inclusion of an episode of Heros that had been “exhibited in New York in 1972 when Bellamy received the award for Best Foreign Artist from the Academy of Comic Book Art” (Garriock, p. 38); a monumental battle sequence, the strip was reproduced in full-colour across two full pages — 40 and 41 — of what was a 9-by-12-inch trade paperback.

The other artists profiled by Garriock included Richard Corben, Robert Crumb, Philippe Druillet, Will Eisner, Jean Giraud, Harvey Kurtzman, Victor Moscoso, and Wallace Wood.

Barry Windsor-Smith · Heads Up! · Here, Read · Interviews · Jim Steranko · Look Here

Look Here, Read: An interview with BWS from 1978

From a 33-year-old catalogue of “original art for sale” entitled Cartoonists and Illustrator’s Portfolio Volume Three (Wyomissing, PA: Supergraphics, 1978), here’s a short interview with Barry Windsor-Smith, conducted by the catalogue’s publisher, James Steranko:


As I’ve noted previously on this blog, BWS has a new print available for purchase from Glimmer Graphics. Also, just to give you a little heads up, I should note that 2011 will see the re-publication, in hardcover, of X-Men: Lifedeath.

As of today at, here are the details:

X-Men: Lifedeath [Hardcover]

Arnold Drake (Author), Chris Claremont (Author), Barry Windsor-Smith (Illustrator)

List Price: CDN$ 27.99
Price: CDN$ 17.55 & eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
You Save: CDN$ 10.44

# Hardcover: 152 pages
# Publisher: Marvel (July 20 2011)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 0785155244
# ISBN-13: 978-0785155249

Product Description

Revolutionary artist Barry Windsor-Smith takes on the Uncanny X-Men! The original X-Men go toe-to-toe against Blastaar, deadly menace from the Negative Zone! Storm and Forge find themselves trapped on a primitive paradise world with no hope of escape! Spiral and Lady Deathstrike target Wolverine for death! And Dazzler is hunted by the Marauders, with only the X-Men to save her!

“Arnold Drake (Author)”? Funny, I bought the LifeDeath comics, back in the day, and I don’t remember that at all… but anyway, it’ll be nice to have the work on my bookshelf in hardcover form… I just hope they don’t screw up the colour too badly…